Using "But" or "And" at the beginning of a sentence:
Do's and Don'ts
Posted this off-topic elsewhere to clarify, thought it might help others:
You can use words like "But" at the beginning of a sentence! But, here is why they are avoided:
But is a conjunction - like And, Or, So, etc...
When you use it as a conjunction at the start of a sentence, it is incorrect because a conjunction CONJOINS two parts of *one* sentence. Therefore if you are using a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence, you most likely shouldn't have stopped writing the previous sentence. If it would otherwise be a r
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run-on, you need to clarify your thoughts because you now have more than one.
This is ironic, though. Conjunctions exist to link, meld, or clarify two seemingly independent thoughts.
Due to their very nature as such, all conjunctions have the ability to function as TRANSITIONS. These are *any* words (or phrases) that link separate sentences or paragraphs (that is, two truly independent ideas that effect one another) and tell the reader what to think about their relationship.
When used this way - as a means to direct the reader through separate thoughts - conjunctions *become* transitions, and using them at the beginning of a sentence can be perfectly correct. However, the purpose of transitions is to coherently and accurately express to the reader whatever the corresponding relationship between those ideas are. Consequently, there are always more descriptive forms of transitioning and you should therefore only consider conjunctions as space savers (blog, etc..) or when you do not wish to clarify the relationship for some reason (suspense, propaganda, plot, etc..)
In summary: conjunctions can be used at the beginning of a sentence, but only as transitions - which they do not best fulfill. They are a last resort of sorts; they should only appear after revision or careful planning.